What is Golgotha?:
The synoptic gospels record the site of Jesus' crucifixion either by the Aramaic name Golgotha (place of the skull: Mark 15:22; Matthew 27:33; Luke 19:17) or just as Skull (Luke 23:33). The origin of the name Golgotha is uncertain, but some believe that a cemetery was located here. It is thought that this was a standard site for small executions that would have been common under Roman rule.
What is the difference between Golgotha and Calvary?:
Actually, Golgotha and Calvary are the same place, these are simply two different words used for it. The name Calvary comes from the Latin Vulgate translation of skull, calvaria. Many religious groups seem to prefer to use Calvary, but Golgotha is common as well.
Where is Golgotha?:
The location of Golgotha is unknown, but it was outside the walls of Jerusalem. Not only does John 19:20 record that, but it would be keeping with both Jewish and Roman customs. It likely would have been on an elevated position near a pathway because Roman crucifixion was designed to humiliate, not just kill. John also records that Jesus tomb was nearby, though the entire area around Jerusalem is a sea of graves and tombs.
Why is Golgotha important?:
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is built over a spot where many believe Golgotha was located in ancient times. Although this site is now within the city walls, archaeological excavations of the ancient fortifications indicate that it might have been outside the walls at one point. Excavations have also identified what appear to be rock-cut tombs here. Traditions identifying this as the site of Jesus execution can only be traced back to the 4th century, however, making them unreliable.
This is generally considered the most holy site in all of Christendom and is a major pilgrimage location. Control of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is divided six ways: Franciscans, Greeks, Armenians, Egyptians, Ethiopians and Syrians. Except for the international Franciscan order, then, control of the site is primarily a matter of ethnicity and tribal divisions. It is ironic that the presumed site of Jesus crucifixion is also a site for intensive tribal rivalry, religious division, and at times even violence.